History of Scranton Pennsylvania Walking Tour
This walking tour is a work in progress- more entries will be added soon
The steam locomotive was an essential piece of industrial transportation that paved the way for America’s vibrant economic growth and technological progress in the 19th and 20th centuries, and although it is quite rare to come across a functional steam locomotive today, the Steamtown National Historic Site presents everything the public would need to know about this crucial piece of American history. Run by the National Park Service (NHS), the Steamtown National Historic Site is a railroad museum and heritage center packed full of valuable artifacts, railroad-based exhibits, and a large collection of full-sized steam locomotives. Additionally, as the site is located on more than 40-acres of the former Scranton yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W), visitors are able to tour an authentic roundhouse, visit a variety of trains up-and-close, and even take a ride on some truly powerful and fascinating trains.
Dating back to 1882 in Berlin and made internationally popular at the 1900 World Fair in Paris, the electric trolley has played a central role in urban life for more than a century. Nearly every major city catered a widespread electric city trolley system throughout the early 1900s (and many still do). In 1887, however, famed inventor Charles Van Depoele drove the first Pullman-built trolley from the corner of Lackawanna and Penn Avenues in downtown Scranton, making Scranton the first city with a trolley line in the United States. This honorable status gave Scranton the nickname of “Electric City.” Trolley enthusiasts, history buffs, or anyone else interested in the public transportation of the past can visit the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton to discover one of the most comprehensive trolley museums in the United States.
The Grand Army of the Republic Building is a historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) owned building located at Scranton, PA. It was built in 1886, and is a red brick and granite building in the Romanesque Revivial-style. It consists of two sections: a three-story with full basement section measuring 40 feet by 60 feet, and a 40 feet by 34 feet section with four stories and a full basement. It features a porch with red granite columnns, a carved brick archway, an ornate carved brick cornice, cast stone arches, and corner turret with round cupola and finial rising to a height of 90 feet. It originally housed a hotel and Masonic Temple, but was purchased by the Grand Army of the Republic in 1901.
St. Peter's Cathedral is the Roman Catholic cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton. The entire St. Peter's Cathedral Complex is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The church was built in 1867, as the parish church of St. Vincent de Paul. In 1883-4, a project was undertaken to remodel and embellish the church, which by now was the central church of the diocese, and on September 28, 1884, the new mother church of the diocese was consecrated by Archbishop P.J. Ryan of Philadelphia, and its name changed to the Cathedral of St. Peter, marking its new role in the still-young diocese. The cathedral complex includes the adjacent rectory (1908) and convent.
This beautiful Renaissance Revival building was erected in 1899 as the headquarters of the International Correspondence School (ICC), an organization that pioneered the concept of distance learning by offering coal miners in the state to take classes by mail. Over its long history, a number of tenants have occupied the building including the Hudson Coal Company. Hudson was a leader in the Pennsylvania coal industry and played an important role in Scranton's history. Given the building's architectural significance and its association with the International Correspondence School and the coal industry which was central to Scranton's economic growth, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Today, the Finch Building is home to apartments.
This Neo-Classical building was constructed in 1915 by the First Church of Christ, Scientist congregation, which was founded in 1879. It was one of several large public buildings erected in Scranton between 1880-1930. Like other buildings designed in the Classical style, it features a large portico with several columns. The congregation remained here until 1985 when decreasing membership forced it to sell the building. The county library board bought it and converted it into the Lackawanna County Children's Library.
The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple (formerly the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral) is a theatre and cultural center in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Cultural Center's mission statement is "to rejuvenate a national architectural structure as a regional center for arts, education and community activities appealing to all ages." The Cultural Center hosts national Broadway tours; professional and local musical and dramatic theatre offerings; local, regional and national orchestral and popular music, dance and opera; comedians, lecturers, art exhibits, a children's and performing arts academy and various classes as well as fundraiser galas and special events including proms, luncheons, private parties and is a popular wedding ceremony and reception venue. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Designed in the Victorian Gothic Revival style, Scranton City Hall is one of the city's more beautiful landmarks. It was constructed in 1888 and was originally called the Municipal Building. Its more prominent feature is a bell tower that has four, circular stained-glass windows. Adjacent to the building is another structure, the Central Fire Headquarters building, which was erected at the same time and is attached to City Hall by a second-floor bridge. Both buildings were jointly added to the National Register of Historic Places. The fire station is still in operation today. City Hall, as of 2018, is need of major repairs that are estimated to cost millions of dollars.
Entry under construction
The Lackawanna County Courthouse is significant for its beautiful Romanesque Revival style and its association with the 1902 Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, the first session of which was held here. The commission was the federal government's first attempt at intervening in a labor dispute, which in this case was the "Great Strike of 1902." Miners belonging to the United Mine Workers of America in the anthracite coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania decided to go on strike to call for shorter work days, higher wages, and official acknowledgment of the union. The strike compelled President Theodore Roosevelt to establish the commission, which acted as a neutral arbiter; its creation was unprecedented in American history up to that point. The event was also significant as it brought to the national forefront the union's young but capable leader, John Mitchell, whose legacy is commemorated by a monument that stands outside on the courthouse grounds.
The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, built as the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Station, is a neo-classical building in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It was built as a train station and office building in 1908; closed in 1970; listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 1977; and renovated and reopened as a hotel in 1983. Through it all, the building retains its original clocks, doors, fountains, stairs, ceilings, walls, and overall appearance. Though not actually filmed on site, the hotel served as the setting for an episode of the American version of the television show, The Office, entitled "Dwight's Speech". The hotel is located on the grounds of the University of Scranton, but it is not actually owned by the university.
Commissioned by Joseph H. Scranton in 1871, the Estate, a Victorian style residence on Ridge Row, would serve as the Scranton family homestead until 1941, when Worthington Scranton left it for the use of the University of Scranton. The Jesuits would claim this building as their place of residence in June 1942 after the Christian Brothers moved out and they moved in, preparing for their administrative takeover of the University of Scranton.
The headquarters of the Lackawanna Historical Society, this historic home contains exhibits and antiques, as well as a research library. Exhibits tell the history of early pioneers, the Civil War, coal mining and economic development, and the history of businesses and leading social and educational institutions in northeastern Pennsylvania from the 18th century to the present.
The Gunster building was the University of Scranton’s Student Center, and it was a three-story building that was built in 1959. This student center originally had a cafeteria, a bookstore, student activities offices, student and staff lounges, a snack bar, game room, and an auditorium. Within this auditorium, the University and its students would hold many different events. These events would range from plays that were part of the performing arts series, to musical concerts by the University band. This building was named after Joseph F. Gunster, who was an alumnus of St. Thomas College and made generous donations to the University. The Gunster building was taken down in 2001 when there was a need for an expansion of the student center, but there was no effective way of renovating and expanding the Gunster building. Due to this, the DeNaples Center was constructed and completed in 2008. Six glass panels from the Gunster Memorial Student Center are currently preserved in the DeNaples Center.
The Loyola Science Center (LSC) was built to house a variety of sciences, hence the name of the building. These range from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) -related science classes to the social sciences. The University wanted to take a modern approach to learning throughout LSC in the construction of the building. For example, many of the rooms and labs have glass walls that encourage group learning and make information sharing more efficient. The University made sure the building was built to code for a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) while still managing to build an approximately 150,000-square-foot, four-story edifice.